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Category Archives: Ground School

CFI Brief: Pressure Altitude Conversions

Pressure altitude is the height above the standard datum plane (SDP). The aircraft altimeter is essentially a sensitive barometer calibrated to indicate altitude in the standard atmosphere. If the altimeter is set for 29.92 “Hg SDP, the altitude indicated is the pressure altitude—the altitude in the standard atmosphere corresponding to the sensed pressure. The SDP […]

CFI Brief: Altimeter Pressure Errors

High to low look out below, low to high clear the sky! If you have never heard that saying before you are probably pretty confused right now. Let me help ease that confusion and explain that today we are discussing altimeter errors when flying in areas of changing atmospheric pressures. The discussion will revolve around […]

CFI Brief: Airport Rotating Beacon

Have you ever wondered how pilots are able to determine the location of an airport at night or in reduced visibility? Well the answer is actually very simple. At night, the location of an airport can be determined by the presence of an airport rotating beacon light like the one seen in the image below. […]

IFR: Precision Instrument Runway Markings

Today, we’re sharing an excerpt from The Pilot’s Manual Volume Three: Instrument Flying. This post is a follow-up to last month’s IFR: The Instrument Landing System (ILS). To assist pilots transitioning to a visual landing at the conclusion of a precision instrument approach, precision instrument runways have specific markings. A displaced threshold on an instrument […]

Aircraft Performance: Runway Surface and Gradient

Today’s post comes from the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25B), which is now available as an eBook from ASA, iTunes, and Kindle. Runway conditions affect takeoff and landing performance. Typically, performance chart information assumes paved, level, smooth, and dry runway surfaces. Since no two runways are alike, the runway surface differs from one runway […]

Navigation: Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast

Today, we’re featuring an excerpt from The Pilot’s Manual: Instrument Flying (PM-3D). Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is a surveillance technology being deployed throughout the entire National Airspace System. ADS-B enables improved surveillance services, both air-to-air and air-to-ground, especially in areas where radar is ineffective due to terrain or where radar is impractical or cost prohibitive. […]

CFI Brief: It’s Getting Hot in Here.

Today, I would like to recap Monday’s post on the aircraft engine cooling system and go over some typical questions you will likely see on your FAA Private Pilot knowledge test. First off, we learned about the effects of operating with an excessively high aircraft engine temperature and that it can lead to loss of […]

Aircraft Systems: Engine Cooling Systems

Today’s post is excerpted from Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. The burning fuel within the cylinders produces intense heat, most of which is expelled through the exhaust system. Much of the remaining heat, however, must be removed, or at least dissipated, to prevent the engine from overheating. Otherwise, the extremely high engine temperatures can lead […]

CFI Brief: The Instrument Approach Procedure Chart

On Monday, we learned about the Instrument Landing System and it’s components. Today, I would like to further our discussion and talk about Instrument Approach Procedure Charts. These charts are what depict to pilots how to fly a particular approach into an airport. Many instrument approaches will require the use of an ILS or it’s […]

IFR: The Instrument Landing System (ILS)

Today, we’re featuring an excerpt from The Pilot’s Manual Volume Three: Instrument Flying. In A Pilot’s Accident Review, author John Lowery recommends that “after about 100 hours of flying with a new private certificate it’s important to the new pilot’s safety and longevity to begin training for an instrument rating.” If you’re a private pilot […]

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